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tv   The Cycle  MSNBC  November 14, 2013 3:00pm-4:00pm EST

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his speech this hour is supposed to focus on jobs and the economy. given what he said this morning, it's a good bet his so-called obama care fix will also make it in. >> i completely get how upsetting this can be for a lot of americans, particularly after assurances they heard from me that if they had a plan they liked they could keep it. to those americans, i hear you loud and clear. i said that i would do everything we can to fix this problem. today i'm offering an idea that will help do it. the bottom line is insurers can extend current plans that would otherwise be canceled into 2014 and americans whose plans had been canceled can change to re-enroll in the same kind of plan. >> we start with nbc's peter alexander, who is outside the white house. peter, how is this thing going to work? >> that's a good question. a lot of people are asking that question today. in the last 15 minutes or so, we're hearing for the first time from state insurance commissioners. they put out a statement that said simply, it is unclear how
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as a practical matter the changes proposed today by the president can be put into effect. directly speaking to the question you're asking right now. we also heard from an organization called ahim. they represent some of the nations and servers. they said one of the problems is this new idea could destabilize the market and ultimately cause premiums to go up. the white house is convinced that while there might be some frustration among the insurance community, in the sotorortorm -t term, they still dastand to benefit from this. the president's intention today was to focus on the event that will take place in cleveland. he'll be at a private company, a steel manufacturing plant. it's significant for a variety of reasons. the president's going to try to focus on manufacturing, investments.
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this place produces steel that helps the auto industry that the white house views as a positive for them, if not for the president's action, the auto industry wouldn't be in the condition that it is right now. it provides steel mostly for fuel-efficient cars as well. another item that benefits the president's strengths. obviously, he's mostly on the defensive right now. we saw him in a way we haven't seen this president through the course of his presidency as it's been described by a lot of analysts. this is a crisis this president hasn't experienced before, not just because of the challenges with the law but really the questions about the president's competency and leadership, all things he's trying to head off going forward. >> all right. peter alexander at the white house. thanks so much. and to help break this down, we have josh barro. josh, we just heard peter break down the president's plan to allow insurers the option to offer current plans through 2014, but insurers will be forced to inform those patients exactly what is lacking. it sounds to me an awful lot
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like what house republicans have offered up, led by congressman fred upton. the only difference being outsiders could also opt in. so help us understand the difference. >> right. there are two key differences between what the president laid out today and what house republicans, including fred upton, who's a republican from michigan, have been putting forward. the president east plan is only for one year. it says that plans can be extended just through 2014 whereas the republican house bill would allow these plans to be extended indefinitely. the president's plan only applies to people who are already on these kinds of coverage, whereas congressman upton would allow new people to buy into these old plans that don't meet the new requirements under obama care. the president's proposal is a lot more limited. and there's something to what the white house is saying about how, yes, this will have impacts on the insurance market. there are good reasons why insurers are displeased about it. but the effects are likely to be fairly limited over the long term, partly because this is only supposed to go for one year, although who knows what will happen at the end of 2014 if we do this and people say, well, i still don't want to lose my plan. it's a very key thing that only
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people on the existing plans can stay on them. there's a lot of what they call churn in the individual insurance market. people change plans a lot. if you say you can stay on the same plan that you were on as of 2013, most people, for one reason or another, they have a change in an employment situation, move to a new state, will have a reason they want to change to a new plan. eventually people should get into the new exchanges and out of the old plans. >> i get kind of the key difference here that you're pointing out is that it the upton bill is permanent. the obama fix would just be for a year, but the piece of this that doesn't make sense to me is it seems like, for me, the two logical directions for the president to go would either be to sort of tough it out, to wait for the health care website to get back online and working properly to hope that once people can actually go on to the website and access insurance because the law is working essentially as designed. once they can see what's available to them, they will have more stories of people having success with the website. either stick it out, or if
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you're really interested in providing political cover for red state democrats, which i think is what a lot of this is about, why not give them an opportunity to vote on something in the house, in the senate so that they can then go to their constituents and say, we were part of fixing this problem, rather than having to tell their constituents in states and districts where there's very little trust for the president, trust the president, he's working on it, he's fixing it. so why did the president decide to go in the direction of an adnistrative fix rather than tweaking the upton bill, working with democrats to put forward some legislation so there could be something passed through the hill? >> i think the president was likely afraid of what would have come out of that legislative process. the votes respect just about giving democrats cover. there would have to be something that came through a negotiation between republicans in the house and democrats in the senate. negotiations between republicans in the house and democrats in the senate usually don't go very well. i think the president would be afraid that that bill would come back, for example, with allowing new people to buy into these
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plans with a fix that would go for more than one year -- >> josh, i just want to ask you one other thing about that. a lot of the reporting is also saying, for example, insurance industry sources told politico that it's likely too late to undo the cancellation notices that have already gone out anyway, so whether you're just allowing people already in the plans to buy into these plans or whether you're allowing new people in, it doesn't seem like the insurance companies are likely to continue these plans anyway. >> i think that'll be a mixed bag. we'll have to see. i mean, the new year starts in, what, 46 days. so it's a very short period for insurers to work with state insurance commissioners and start issuing plans that they had been intending to cancel. i think it is very likely that under either the president's plan or the house republican plan that a lot of people are not going to be able to keep plans they like, even though federal law allows them to. and politically, i have to think that's part of the president's strategy here. this allows him to say, well, i made the change that allows you to keep your plan, and you should talk to your state insurance commissioner or to your health insurance provider
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if they're not selling you the plan that you want. so i think partly they don't want the fix to work too well. there's a reason that the insurance markets have to change in the way that they are changing under obama care. you want people into these new risk pools, a mix of healthy people and people who are sicker and need more care. so you don't want too many people keeping their existing plans. >> i'm curious as to what you think republicans are going to do now. because, of course, the president has addressed some of the criticism. he's moved into the territory that the upton bill was suggesting. okay. i said something, you said i didn't live up to that. let's live up to that for a year. fine. the republican position has always been, whatever the president is for, we are against. so now can they be for the upton bill? because now they're being for something that the president is for. i mean, this is sort of the problem when your thesis is we're against anything that you are for, eventually you're going to get into a position where you're a bit confused of where you need to go. >> yeah, i think we're seeing a
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mixed bag of reactions from republicans. i know senator bob corker said he thought this was a positive step. i do think you'll continue to hear republicans say you need a legislative fix, that this is the sort of thing that's supposed to be done through legislation and not through executive action. they want to take votes on this. that'll be awkward for the president, and they want moves that are more expansive. i think they would like the approach in the upton bill that allows these less regulated plans to continue indefinitely. so i would expect to see votes on this. i also think in some sense this has been an escape hatch for republicans. you have this upton bill in the house. then you have senator mary landrieu's bill in the senate. what that bill does is it doesn't just allow insurers to continue plans. it forces them to continue them. it really does try to address the problem of people not being able to keep their health plans. and this is kind of a trap for republicans. what was going to happen is they were going to pass the upton bill. then maybethe landrieu bill taken up in the senate. i don't think republicans should
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normally want to vote for a bill that forces health insurers to continue to stay in lines of business that held like to exit. it's a very heavy-handed federal government involvement in private city. this allows them to avoid doing something they probably didn't want to do. because basically their main policy guide star on health care is they're in favor of whatever the president opposes, they were moving in this direction of demanding a new health insurance regulation that the president didn't want. so this may save them from that. >> yeah, i mean, i think if you're watching washington from home right now and trying to figure out why this is such a big day in obama care news, you'd be forgiven for thinking that we were talking about something that might affect most people under the plan or half the people under the plan or a quarter of the people under the plan. i'm not diminishing the people who are affected by this, but this as a way to evaluate obama care, even when we talk about the total numbers of support for obama care, this is about 5% of the insurance market. as i've said and will continue to say on this show, it's a
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corner of the market that the president has a record of caring about and most of these republican opponents don't, as a legislative factual matter. i just want to add that as a larger context for the conversation. when we look to the insurance market specifically, josh, what do you think about the sort of information or transparency piece here? the idea that you're going to push some of these insurers to really explain to people in this 5% part of the market that they were paying for less because they were getting less, what do you think of that piece of it? >> in some cases, that's it. one part of what the president is putting forward is that when insurers send these notices saying you may extend for another year, they'll have to give them some information about, you know, what that's going to cost them and what their other options are in the exchanges that may be cheaper. you're right, that a lot of people are going to find they're actually better off changing health plans. they may think they like the coverage they have now, but there's a new, better option available to them. some of them won't reach that conclusion. we're talking about the individual markets, about 5% of the health care market. some of those people actually their plans aren't getting
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canceled. some of them already want to change coverage. there's a substantial fraction of that, a few million people who are young, healthy people with moderate to high incomes who really do have a better plan under the old system than they're going to be able to get under obama care. >> so they're like you. they're young and healthy. >> well, i get health insurance from my employer, but -- >> but the young and healthy part. >> yes, that part i will grant. >> i'm just saying you good look today, bud. >> i appreciate that. >> romantic in here. >> go ahead. >> this isn't just about, you know, plans that were cheap because they were bad. in a lot of cases, you know, if you're young and healthy, you can get a quite good health plan that would cover you if you had high health costs because the insurer thinks it's unreasonable you're going to. the way we pay for the expansion of coverage and to cover people who are too sick and expensive to cover before is we make people who are young and healthy pay the same premiums as those people. everyone says it's really important we get young and
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healthy people to buy in the exchanges. the reason it's important is the premiums they pay are going to be way higher than the care they receive. they're paying an implicit tax to support this program for other people. so those people, you know, it's not a huge slice of the population. it's a few million people. but they are losing out here. i think it has to annoy them when people basically act like they're not losing anything, they had junk insurance before and these changes are for their own good. >> absolutely right. josh barro, thank you. those remarks on the economy are expected at about 3:40. we'll bring those to you right here on "the cycle." up next, one of the big reasons the president had to come out today. his own party's none too pleased. we'll spin as "the cycle" rolls on for a busy thursday afternoon.
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we're working 24/7 to get it working for the vast majority of americans in a smooth, consistent way. i'm not going to walk away from 40 million people who have the chance to get health insurance for the first time. we're just going to keep on chipping away at this until the job is done. >> that's president obama earlier today making his public pitch for people to bear with him as the government works out the kinks of implementing the affordable care act. right now, top white house staffers are finishing up their private pitch to democrats on the hill with rumors swirling that before today's remarks, some were on the verge of revolt. the president's proposal also gets out ahead of the gop plan that's due out for a house vote as early as tomorrow and one
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that nancy pelosi called cleatly disruptive to the insurance polls. our question, is the president's olive branch enough to calm members of his own party? and how big a problem is this division for the president and the future of obama care? we are spinning. abby huntsman, you were saying earlier, a lot of division here for democrats. >> and president obama spoke directly to this, this morning, basically saying there's no doubt that the failure of the launch has impacted democrats and not for the better. let's take a listen to some of what he had to say. >> no doubt that our failure to roll out the aca smoothly has put a burden on democrats, whether they're running or not. bauz they sto-- because they st and supported this effort through thick and thin. you know, i feel deeply
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responsible for making it harder for them. >> i've actually never heard the president sound so up front referring to his own party. it seemed like his strategy in his speech this morning was, look, don't blame the democrats. this is all on me. this is my fault. don't punish them. don't in any way have this cause anything bad in the elections come 2014. i think he met with democrats yesterday on the hill, and it's clear they're upset, that they're angry, that they felt obama care was essentially going to be a huge advantage for them come the elections. it's now become their achilles heel. it's becoming their biggest weakness. the problem is that is this is really the only agenda they have to stand on. what else is there? they don't have immigration they can talk about. so i'm assuming the meeting probably was a bit testy yesterday. then you have republicans who have never been on board with this, and their argument now s look, you can't trust the president, which to me is a little bit frightening when you think about anything getting done from here on out because
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they're clearly not going to be willing to work with the president if they're using this argument that you can't even trust the president any longer. >> democrats remain extremely supportive of the aca, and especially gallup showing young folks are extremely supportive of the aca. that's still a message that will work to democratic audiences. we could definitely message against immigration and what republicans have done to hurt the country and not passing reform on that. but let's stay on the aca. let's look at members supporting th this landrieu bill, right. joe manchin, from a red state. senator pryor, from a red state. do you notice anything? we see red state democrats who are dealing with the challenge of living and governing in a gerrymandered world where sometimes they have to deal with what the folks on the right want. the only two sort of outliers
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are merkeley. senator feinstein sometimes just goes to the right and bucks her party from time to time. but ultimately -- >> the democrats aren't at all feeling concerned about obama care controlling the narrative -- >> i don't see blue state democrats, barbara boxer, elizabeth warren, et cetera, saying, we're concerned about what this is going to do in our state. i'm seeing red state democrats who are concerned about what it's going to do to them in a state where folks are saying, we already don't like obama care. >> but they're the only ones who have a tough election. >> that's what matters. >> that is where it matters. what i don't understand and what i was asking josh about is i don't think that the fix the president's proposing, which frankly i think is mostly optical, mostly for him to be able to say, i'm trying to fix the problem, i don't think this solves the issue for red state democrats in the house or the
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senate because ultimately, that means they have to go back to their districts and their states, red as they may be, and say you got to trust the president. it's not a winning message in red america right now. mary landrieu has already come out and said she's still pursuing a legislative fix because they want to go on the record as fixing obama care. that is something that would actually help them. so that's the piece of this -- >> and it would give them something to run on. >> that's confusing to me. >> the president may care about certain individual, landrieu, hagan, et cetera, but he understands the house is not in play, the senate is not in play. >> the senate is in play. >> no, it's not. it will continue to be blue. there's no chance post shutdown -- >> you are fooling yourself if you think the senate could not flip. i'm not saying that it will. >> no, post -- >> look at kay hagan in north
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carolina. it looked like she was going to be in good shape for re-election, especially after the shutdown. she was leading significantly in the polls. now it's very close. and she's one of the key seats that we have to win to keep control of the senate. so it is very much in play. i don't know why the president would make this fix if he wasn't concerned about the senate being in play and the piece of it i don't understand is why not give red state democrats an opportunity to go on the record to take a vote, trying to fix the obama care problem that's causing them issues. >> i think krystal's point is apt in the sense that if you want to do something here that's about action, you have to leave some space for your side to take action. you know from running for congress, and i have some sense after working for two senators. it's harder to go around the country and say to people, no, no, we have this feeling and here's the press release that explained it. you want to have a vote. you want the vote to become federal law and say, we changed the law. >> there was a problem. we worked on it. >> exactly. i would associate myself with that analysis. where i come down a little
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different on the broad context of all this is there is tremendous resentment. we've talked about the president's aprol rating dropping. you mentioned that, abby. the congressional approval rating is down around 9%. that means the president's quadruple the rating of congress. if you forget the wider context, oh, the president dropped down to under half. okay, you've got diseases that are slightly more popular than the republican congress. speaking of health care. the other piece of it -- the other piece of it that matters and that's serious is what do you do with the resentment not only towards congress but towards a broken health care industry. okay, this idea of you get to keep your plan at your cost, we've talked about the political malpractice of that commitment at 100% when it was really applicable to 95%. as josh said, it's true. the other 5% of the people matter. but guess what? right now in the market, you don't get -- before obama care, you don't have a right to keep a
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plan ongoing at the same cost. that is not the baseline. the republicans have been masterful or cynical, depending on how you look at it, by making people feel like, oh, gosh, i lost my thing. premiums were rising for 35 years straight. the cost curve bent for the first time in 2010 in that the premium increases were less. "the washington post" and others have documented that. in part because of an understanding of a change under this regulatory policy. we still need more people in the risk pool, but that's the big thing here. there's been a political jujitsu of the resentment towards the rules that are the rules of the road pre-obama care and they've been pushed on the president in a way that's misleading. yes, president's statement, 95% accurate, not 100%. a lot of these other statements, highly misleading. >> i don't know if i agree with that. >> one other piece on that. we also are having this now, like, okay, if you like your crappy health care plan, you can keep it, that is not without a cost to all of us. if you have a plan that doesn't cover you and you get sick, guess who pays the price?
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we all do. and it increases health care costs. that's why that piece of this was so important. >> and that's because under federal law, president reagan signed a law saying you can't be denied coverage in the e.r. >> which is great, but we pay for it already. >> we're not even talking about the insurance companies that still have to agree to do this, which is a whole other conversation. >> all right. we're moving on. if you want to have a say on this, what do you got to do? you got to vote. unfortunately, as people know, that's been made harder for some as opposed to others in our society. today at 4:00 p.m. eastern on msnbc.com, we'll have writer zack roth and having a google hangout to discuss the polarizing effects of that. that's coming up on msnbc.com at 4:00 p.m. you can get in on the conversation. i'm going it give you the url. it is our website page thecycle.msnbc.com. be sure to join in on the action. again, last time i'm telling you.
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we are waiting for the president in cleveland. but the news cycle is now. we want to take you overseas to the philippines. the death toll from last week's historic typhoon has been upped to more than 4400 people. president obama addressed the dire condition there just a short time ago. >> our friends in the philippines will face a long, hard road ahead, but they'll continue to have a friend and partner in the united states of america. >> nbc's ian williams is in manila. >> reporter: hello, ari. well, they actually retracted that higher death toll figure a few minutes ago.
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apparently there was some confusion at the u.n. they reaffirmed the lower figure of 2,367. still, that is expected to rise further. there is a real sign here, a real hope that the relief operation is at last gaining some momentum. there's no greater symbol of that than the arrival offshore of the uss george washington together with seven support ships. now, it's hoped this will make an enormous difference. the "george washington" is able to purify 400,000 gallons of water every day. there's a fleet of 21 helicopters, which will take that fresh water to communities and areas, some of which have not seen any fresh drinking water for almost a week since that deadly typhoon hit. now, there are other signs of things improving. there are 300 u.s. marines on the ground. that figure will soon go up to more than 1,000.
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the airport at tacloban, the worst-hit city, is beginning to take in more traffic. the runway's been extended. there are bigger planes getting in. it's operating 24 hours a day. and there are signs that the philippine government operation, which had seemed to be just gridlocked, is finally itself starting to get up to speed. some real hope. the security situation, which isn't great and will of course have to take into account of that when the u.s. brings aid in, is starting to stabilize, according to the philippine government, with more police and army getting in there. for the first time there, is some hope, but this aid operation, a massive operation, is starting to step up. that will be very good news for the tens of thousands of people in such desperate need, ari. >> all right. ian williams, stay safe. thank you for your reporting. two life terms and five years. that is the sentence for reputed boston mob boss whitey bulger. testifi
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he was implicated in 11 killings and a string of other charges. the 84-year-old called his trial a sham and declined to testify here or at his sentencing. the judge today called bulger's crimes heinous. president obama's nominee for federal reserve chair was on the hill today. janet yellen told the senate banking committee that the economy has regained ground following the great recession, but that wall street still needs the fed support. >> do you have any estimate right now as to when there may be a beginning of the tapering? >> we have seen meaningful progress in the labor market, and what the committee is looking for is signs that we will have growth that's strong enough to promote continued progress. >> yellen's appearance sent stocks soaring. the dow is sitting at a new record high. also on the hill today atop counterterrorism is the strongest it's been since 2006.
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officials caution al qaeda in iraq does not pose a direct threat to the united states. now you're caught up in the news cycle. over the last two-plus decades, the number of women on the wrong end of the criminal justice system has exploded. right now there are more than 200,000 female inmates in america. studies show that women with criminal records struggle badly to find jobs, especially with 92% of large employers running background checks. our next guest is doing everything she can to provide women with criminal pasts training and employment with her company same sky and everything she can to highlight the hardships they face upon release in the documentary "prison stories: women on the inside." i have to crawl before i walk. i messed up along the line. right now i'm just getting my life back in order to do the right thing. somebody gave me a chance, so i just want to give back. >> it's brought me from drugs and crime to actually staying home and doing something productive for other people as well as myself. >> joining us now is the
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award-winning producer and founder of same sky, a company that provides jobs across the globe for struggling women. thanks so much for joining us. >> thank you so much for having me. >> so tell us about your same sky america initiative, what inspired it and what you're hoping it will accomplish. >> well, we started with women that just got out of bergen county jail. we met this wonderful woman, gloria walton, who runs the most excellent halfway house. a dear friend of mine, a former governor, was working with these, you know, inmates and saying, it's so hard to get them jobs. as you know, 47 million people are unemployed in america. imagine where women getting out of prison are. so with the governor's blessing and the new mayor in jersey city, i said to them, let me try to work with them. let me create jewelry. let me see what i can do. that's how it all started. >> and a job more than anything,
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it gives someone a reason to wake up in the morning. it gives someone a purpose. without that, it becomes very easy to fall back into temptation, which happens all too often. tell us more about the women involved in this program and how their lives have changed. >> well, it's very, very exciting to see crocheting and stringing beads, how impactful it is. the women have gained so much strength. they support each other because they all work at a table when they get together they work together. and their sense of skill building has really improved. two of them have gone back to school. others have said, you know, i can actually be trained in something, and i have hope for the first time. as we just saw in the clip, they feel like they're helping other women. same sky started in rwanda with hiv positive women who had been raped. they feel this connection to those women in rwanda, and they
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feel as if they're more fortunate. >> i understand the value of prison being tough to a certain extent, but when we incarcerate people in inhumane ways, that hurts all of us because most prisoners will eventually come home and the inhumane things that have happened to them, the changes that have happened to them, will be visited on all of us. one idea within that impacts women in particular. 33 states allow women to be shackled to their beds during childbirth. the ama has called this medically hazardous and barbaric. i think almost anybody can understand how barbaric that would be. i mean, just the idea of when we are incarcerating people in inhumane ways, when they get out, they're going to be changed in ways that we're not really prepared to deal with. >> well, i agree with you 100%, but we've got to build skills. we've got to build confidence. they need to go back into the public. they need to feel that they have value and self-worth. their mothers, 85% of them are
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mothers. they need to be reconnected with their families. and they need to get a job. that's how you build dignity. >> and when you look at this issue and the treatment of individuals here and the nature of the documentary piece of this, how much does it matter, do you think, to americans' public perception of our incarceration policies when they see inmates who are women, or who are minors? how might that affect the empathy we see in these individuals? >> it's hard to judge that, but i can say that we've got to really get those women back on their feet. recidivism rates are so high. it's costing the public a fortune. we've got to get women back on their feet to take care of their family -- >> but do you think people look at women inmates differently? >> you know, i don't know if i can answer that question. i think that we all need to give people a second chance. we all need reconciliation. we all need hope. >> all right.
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thank you so much for your work and for your insights there. and we are showing you pictures now live of the president. he is getting ready to speak in cleveland. we'll go to him now. >> it is good to be back in last time i was here was about a days of the campaign. miss hearing how i approve this message every night on tv. i will say it is nice to be here when the only real battle for ohio is the browns/bengals game this sunday. browns shirt right here. browns cap. i want to thank scotty for that terrific introduction. give him a big round of
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applause. [ applause ] he's a natural. i want to thank your ceo for investing in america and the cleveland area. we appreciate him. and i want to thank all of you for having me here today. along with me, there are a couple people i want to acknowledge. first of all, america's secretary of energy is here. right there. and congresswoman marcy captor give marcy a round of applause. fighting for working people every day. earlier this afternoon, i had a chance to see your mayor, frank jackson, your county executive, ed fitzgerald, and i want -- even though they're not here, i want to thank them for the great work they're doing on behalf of working people throughout the
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region. [ applause ] finally, i want to thank mark and gary for showing me one of the biggest steel plants in america. they told me that folks are proud to have been making steel right here for a century, 100 years, right here. and they explain that today the steel you make is some of the strongest you'll find anywhere in the world. it's one of the most productive plants in the world. best workers in the world. what's remarkable is when you think about it, you know, go back to where this plant was just a few years ago. the economy was in a free fall. auto industry on the brink of collapse. that meant demand for steel had
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dried up. the blast furnaces went quiet. about 1200 steel workers punched out for what might have been the last time. and that all came at the end of a decade when the middle class was already working harder and harder just to get by. nearly one in three american manufacturing jobs had vanished. a lot of them going overseas. that could have devastated this community for good. but we rolled up our sleeves. we made some tough choices. we rescued and retooled the american auto industry. it saves more than 1 million jobs. we bet on american ingenuity and american workers and assembly lines started humming again and automakers started to make cars again. and just a few months after this plant shut down, your plant manager got the call. fire those furnaces back up. get those workers back on the job. over the last four years, you've made yourselves one of the most
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productive steel mills not just in america but in the world. in the world. [ cheers and applause ] so you retooled to make the strongest steel that goes into american cars and trucks. you created new partnerships schools and community sure that folks who work here had the high-tech skills that they need for the jobs because, you looking around this factory and there's a whole going on. one of your engineers -- and i want to make sure i get margaret's name right here. margaret krolakowski, did i get that right? margaret? there. i'm going to quote you. here's what margaret said. when we came back, we wanted to make sure we were in a position never shut down again.
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shut down again. means making sure that workers here are constantly their skills and investments being made in the art technology. it was interesting. when i was meeting a number of giving me the tour, folks who have been here 30 years, 40 years, but obviously the plant's changed, and so during that period, they've had their skills. that's what's happened. and the story of this plant is the story of america over the last five years. we haven't just been recovering from a crisis. what we've been trying to do is rebuild a new foundation for growth and prosperity to protect ourselves from future crises. and because the grit and resilience and optimism of the american people, we're seeing comeback stories like yours all across america. over the last 44 months, our businesses created 7.8 million
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new jobs. last month, another 200,000 americans went back to work. [ applause ] and a lot of those jobs are in manufacturing. so now we've got to do more to get those engines of the economy churning even faster. but because we've been willing to do some hard things, not just down the road, factories are reopening their doors, businesses are hiring new workers, companies that were shipping jobs overseas, they're talk about bringing back to america. starting to see that. and let me give you an example because we were talking about look at what we've done with american energy. for years, folks have talked about reducing our dependence on foreign oil, but we didn't it. and we were just importing more oil, sending more and more money overseas. gas prices keep on going up and up and up.
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we finally decide we were going something about it. so we invested in new american technologies to reverse our addiction to foreign oil, double power, double solar power, produce more oil, produce more natural gas, and do it all in a way that is actually bringing some of our pollution, our entire economy more energy efficient. today we generate more renewable energy than ever. we produce more natural gas than anybody in the world. just yesterday we learned that the first time since 1995, the united states of america produces more of our own oil home than we buy from other countries. first time since 1995. [ applause ] that's a big deal. that's what america's done these
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past five years. and that is a huge competitive us. part of the reason companies now want to move, we were just talking about it, this plant, if located in germany, energy maybe triple. same in japan. so this gives us a big edge. but this is also important. we reached the milestone not just because we're producing more energy, but also we're energy. and this plant's a good example of it. we set new fuel standards that double the distance our cars and trucks go on a gallon of gas by the middle of the next decade. that saves the average driver, everybody here, more than $8,000 at the pump over the life of a new car. you like that? we launched initiatives to put people to work upgrading our homes and businesses in our factories so we're wasting less
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energy. all that saves businesses money on their energy bills. your plant is one of the hundreds to answer that call, and if you're saving money on energy costs, that means you could invest in equipment, invest in workers, hire more people, produce more product. and here's another thing. between more clean energy, less wasted energy, the carbon pollution that's helping to warm the planet, that actually starts going down. and that's good news for anybody who cares about leaving the planet to our kids that is as beautiful as the one we've got from our parents and our grandparents. so -- so it's a win/win. our economy keeps growing, creating new jobs, which means that strengthening our energy security and increasing energy efficiency doesn't have to be a choice between the environment and the economy. we can do both.
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so we've tackled the way we use energy. that's making america more competitive in order to attract good jobs. we've also tackled our deficits. lot of people have been deficits since i took office. we cut them in half. makes america more it comes to business investment decisions. and we've tackled a broken obviously, we're not done yet. obviously, we're not done yet, but over the last three years, health care costs have grown at the slowest pace on record. and, you know, this is a great place to work thanks to a great steel workers union and labor. just keep in mind that if
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businesses -- health care costs growing at about one-third the rate that they were a decade that makes america a more business. also means that the investors here, if they're putting less into health care costs, terms of hiring more workers and that they're getting good pay. all these tough decisions are about. reversing the forces that have hurt the middle class for a long, long time. and building an economy where anybody, if you work hard, you get ahead. that's what plants like this have always been about. it's not that it's easy work, means if you work hard, a chance to buy a home. to retire. chance to send your kids to school. you have a chance to maybe take a little vacation once in a while. that's what people strive for.
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and that's what will make the 21st century an american century the last century was. but i department run for to where we were. i want us to go forward. i want us to go towards the future. i want to get us to where we need to be. i want to solve problems, not justproblems, not ones folks have here. we can to prepare our going reach just to have a advanced training. school, can
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can get that education without without going into debt, so we are working on that. another thing we should be working on, fixing a broken immigration system. you know, when you think about this whole region, a lot of folks forget, but almost everybody who worked in that plant a hundred years ago came from someplace else. so we have got now a new generation of hopeful striving immigrants. we have to make sure that they come legally and we do what we have to secure our borders but we provide them an opportunity just like your parents, grandparents, great grandparents, received when they arrived at this plant. and that is important. and, by the way, it will help
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our economy grow because then they are paying taxes and helping invest and build here in america. we should do everything we can to revitalize american manufacturing. you know, manufacturing is, you know, that's the -- that's the hub of our economy. when our manufacturing base is strong, the entire economy is strong. a lot of service jobs depend on servicing manufacturing jobs and typically manufacturing jobs pay a little bit better. so that's been a path, a ticket to the middle class. so when we make steel and cars, make them here in america, you know, that helps. like i said work may be hard, but it gives you enough money to buy a home and raise a kid. retire and sned your kids to school. and those kind of jobs also tell us something else. it's not just how much you get in your paycheck. it's also a sense of i'm making
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something and i'm helping to build this country. it helps establish a sense of -- that we're invested in this country. it tells us what we're worth as a community. you know, one of your coworkers, mike longer, where is mike? >> back here. mike right there. mike grew up here. his mom and dad worked at this plant. this plant helped put mike and four brothers and/or sisters through college and once this plant started growing again, mike got his chance to be a steel worker here and provide for his own two young kids. so it's a generational thing and i want to keep that going. in my state of the union address i talked about how we started the first manufacturing institute here in ohio and mark
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has been a big proponent of this because she knows how important manufacturing is. i want to create more of them. places where businesses are working with universities and they are partnering to figure out what are the new manufacturing techniques that keep us at the cutting edge so that, you know, china or germany don't get ahead of us in terms of the equipment that is being invested. we wanted to be at the cutting edge so what we are producing is always the best mysteriouslstee best cars but that requires investment and your senator first manufacturing in youngstown and he is now leading a bipartisan effort. he's now leading a bipartisan effort with senator blount of missouri to move more of these manufacturing innovation hubs all across the country. and then congress should pass sharon's bill. we should do everything we can to guarantee the next evolution of manufacturing happens right
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here in cuyahoga. it happens right here in ohio. it happens right here in america. let me make one last point. we have to do everything we can affordable health care, period. you may have read we have had some problems the last month with websites. i'm not happy about that. you know, i had a press conference today and i said you know what? we fumbled the ball in terms of the rollout, but we always knew this was going to be hard. there's a reason why folks tried to do it a hundred years and hadn't done it. and it's implicated. a lot of players are involved. the status quo is entrenched.
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and so, yes, there's no question the rollout on the affordable care act was much tougher than we expected, but i want understand i i want millions of americans to make sure that they are are not broke when they get sick and they can go to a doctor when their kid gets sick and we are apologizing for that. we are are going to get this done. so we are going to get the website working the way it's supposed to. the plans are already out there that are affordable and people can get tax credits. we are going to help folks, you know, whose old plans have been canceled by their insurers. many of them weren't very good and we are going to make sure that they can get newer, better options, but we are not going to go back to the old system broken and every year, thousands of americans would get dropped
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for coverage or denied their medical history or exposed to financial ruin. you guys are lucky that you work in a company with a strong union you good health sick. covered. premium it we are not insurance. who say they are opposed
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to it and can't offer a solution, we will push back. i got to give your governor a kasich expanded o. hioans will have insurance and that doesn't just happen because of the affordable care act. and i think it's fair to say that, you know, the governor didn't do it because he just loves me so much. you know? we don't agree on much, but you saw this makes sense. why wouldn't we do this? why wouldn't we make sure that hundreds of thousands of people right here in ohio have some
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security? it was the right thing to do. and, by the way, if every republican governor did what kasich did here, rather than play politics about it you'd access to health care next year with the website. decision. they have to go ahead and sign bottom line is sometimes we just have to set aside the politics and focus on what is good for people. what's good to grow our middle class? what is going to help keep plans like this growing? what is going to make sure we are putting more people back to work? and look. goo

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